GALLERY GUIDO PMQs SKETCH: Bercow’s Descendancy

“The booing and jeering from the Government benches at Bercow was as bad as I have ever known it,” a back bencher said. “And when Therese Coffey wished him and his family a happy Christmas, that got booed as well.”

It was quite a scene. When John McDonnell called the Prime Minister a liar – or was it “Lies! Lies! All lies!” as another witness had it – the Tories started to chant the only really offensive word in his Speaker’s lexicon. The word is “Order.”

“Order! Order!” they shouted. “ORDER!”

The English translation is: “You dirty, rotten, cheating, twisted little berk – you’ve ratted on all your colleagues, you’ve connived and conspired against one side of the House and sucked up to the other, you bend, bribe and bully decent people with your gifts and positions and quid pro quos, you’ve used the highest position in Parliament to puff your pompous little personality out of its skin, your language is ridiculous, your snobbery is disgusting, your megalomania is obvious, your taut, fake smile is completely unconvincing, and you do not deserve our respectful goodwill a moment longer!”

Labour’s John McDonnell had asked a colourful question about the Heathrow extension which would result in them having to demolish schools and hospitals and yes, “to dig up our dead”.

Cameron was dealing quite skilfully with his unequivocal “no ifs” undertaking not to rob the graves around Heathrow and McDonnell shouted out, let’s take the least unparliamentary version, “They were lies! Lies!”

The Tory storm began. Bercow leant forward and took advice from the Clerk.

Now, the Clerk of the House is a clerk in the same way a Secretary of State is a secretary.

Robert Rogers is a magnificent-looking individual with a proper spade of a royal beard, wonderfully-kept 18th century court dress, and a glittering, penetrating eye. Tonbridge and Lincoln College Oxford. A gentleman. Old school. The chief executive of the Palace of Westminster. The ultimate authority on parliamentary procedure.

And yet, and yet.

Last year, when Bercow collaborated with Chris Bryant to allow the word “Lied” to be used of Jeremy Hunt in the Commons, Bercow had to square the Clerk. He had to fix him. He couldn’t proceed with the Clerk’s acquiesence. I’m sorry to say, that the Clerk acquiesced. He declared the Speaker was correct.

In his book – the sort of work that people call “magisterial” – he says in plain black and white that Liar and its various forms is unparliamentary language. In his faith, one thing but in his works – ah! I’m choking up. You get the gist.

There we were again this afternoon with the words Liar or Lies being flung across the floor and Bercow leaning forward to take Roger’s advice. He leant back, stood up and said, “A reference was made to the treatment of constituents not to observations made in respect of Members of the House.”

What technical, legalistic, self-serving twaddle.

He’s sucking up the Tories just now, gums and tongue working double time, trying to retrieve his position with them. But had, in the happier days of his Ascendancy, had Simon Burns, or Tim Loughton, Anna Soubry, Patrick McLoughlin or Michael Gove yelled that across the floor Bercow would have fallen on them like a collapsing house.

But this, his Descendancy, is a fascinating narrative, for those with stomachs strong enough to watch.

It’s the recess. The New Year is a New Deal. And Bercow’s grease gun is loaded with inexhaustible lubricants. He will need all the darker arts to bring the situation back his way. Let’s see how he tries.



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

Top Posts This Week

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

ENVIRONMENT MAYOR TOTTY WATCH: BRAZIL EDITION ENVIRONMENT MAYOR TOTTY WATCH: BRAZIL EDITION
HAIN GRAVY TRAIN HYPOCRISY HAIN GRAVY TRAIN HYPOCRISY
MONBIOT SKINS & COOKS SQUIRREL ON NEWSNIGHT MONBIOT SKINS & COOKS SQUIRREL ON NEWSNIGHT
DAVE’S CARBON BAGGAGE DAVE’S CARBON BAGGAGE
Daylight Robbery: Met Chain Themselves to £216 Billion 10 Year IT Contract Daylight Robbery: Met Chain Themselves to £216 Billion 10 Year IT Contract
Trumps Hair: Toupee or Not Toupee? Trumps Hair: Toupee or Not Toupee?

BURNHAM BLOWS DOG WHISTLE LINE BURNHAM BLOWS DOG WHISTLE LINE
DCMS FUN POLICE CALLED OFF THE CASE DCMS FUN POLICE CALLED OFF THE CASE
NEW PEERAGES LIST IN FULL NEW PEERAGES LIST IN FULL
WELSH FIRST MINISTER CONDEMNS STEEL WORKERS WELSH FIRST MINISTER CONDEMNS STEEL WORKERS
MOAT CLEANING EXPENSES SCANDAL MP AWARDED PEERAGE MOAT CLEANING EXPENSES SCANDAL MP AWARDED PEERAGE
CHICKEN TORIES CHICKEN TORIES
1 IN 5 CORBYN SUPPORTERS VOTED FOR CLEGG 1 IN 5 CORBYN SUPPORTERS VOTED FOR CLEGG
CORBYN ESCAPES #LABOURPURGE CORBYN ESCAPES #LABOURPURGE
VOICE OF AN OIL DRILL VOICE OF AN OIL DRILL
Wind Turbines: Subsidised Sun Beds Wind Turbines: Subsidised Sun Beds
FLASHBACK: EVERY DAY SEXUAL SEGREGATION FLASHBACK: EVERY DAY SEXUAL SEGREGATION
Control the Camera on this 360° Crossrail Video Control the Camera on this 360° Crossrail Video
Flashback: Labour Leader Vote Hijack, Could Rivals Do a Balotelli? Flashback: Labour Leader Vote Hijack, Could Rivals Do a Balotelli?
Andy Burnham Everyday Sexism Andy Burnham Everyday Sexism
Burnham Threatens to Quit Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet Burnham Threatens to Quit Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet
GORDON DOOMS YVETTE (?) GORDON DOOMS YVETTE (?)
MPs’ Deleted Tweets Twitter Don’t Want You to See MPs’ Deleted Tweets Twitter Don’t Want You to See
Corbyn: ‘I Don’t Support Putin, But…’ Corbyn: ‘I Don’t Support Putin, But…’
Foreign cash funding In campaign should be illegal Foreign cash funding In campaign should be illegal
Corbyn v Train Jihadi Corbyn v Train Jihadi
JEREMY CORBYN EQUATES ISIS TO US MILITARY JEREMY CORBYN EQUATES ISIS TO US MILITARY
MILIBAND’S TRIBUTE BEARD MILIBAND’S TRIBUTE BEARD
CORBYN AT PMQS CORBYN AT PMQS
JEREMY CORBYN’S SENSIBLE JUMPER ADVICE JEREMY CORBYN’S SENSIBLE JUMPER ADVICE